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Man suffering from Alzheimer’s is released from L.A. County jail and found dead two days later

Officials said the coroner’s office is investigating the death of Gerald Masao Sakamoto, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
Officials said the coroner’s office is investigating the death of Gerald Masao Sakamoto, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
(Pasadena Police Department)

A 71-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease who was reported missing by his family has been found dead in downtown Los Angeles — two days after he was arrested then released from jail on his own recognizance, authorities said Monday.

Relatives in Pasadena reported Gerald Sakamoto missing Friday after he left home in the middle of the night. His family told KABC that he had pretended to take his medication before leaving.

Los Angeles County jail records show that Sakamoto was arrested by the California Highway Patrol about 3 a.m. Friday on suspicion of driving drunk. But his daughter Mindy Brink said the problems he had driving resulted from him failing to take his medication.

“I don’t think that he was drunk,” she told KABC. “I believe that the reason that he had such impaired judgment is because he hadn’t had his medication.”

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Records show that Sakamoto was released from jail about 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Sheriff’s Department said there was no indication he had Alzheimer’s disease before he was released on his own recognizance.

“All persons being released from our custody are offered the opportunity to stay in custody up to 16 hours, or until daylight hours, to arrange transportation or to contact service providers. Mr. Sakamoto declined the accommodation,” the statement said.

Any inmate who shows signs of needing medical attention or requests it will be treated at the booking center, department officials said.

However, the agency’s statement continued, records “indicate that Mr. Sakamoto was not identified as requiring special needs or assistance during his time” in custody.

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There is no foul play suspected in Sakamoto’s death and the coroner’s office is investigating, officials said. A family member who answered the phone at Sakamoto’s home declined to comment.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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